I got half a mile down Cotton Lake Road headed to the boat ramp at (30.784274,-87.313912). Just across the railroad tracks I ran up on the Escambia River, or was it Cotton Lake, it was kinda hard to tell with the pine woods overcome by the rich chocolate-colored spring flooding. The ramp was still an easy 3/4 mile down the road. Off to my left I heard the pop pop pop of handgun fire and could see the walking trail leading up to an old quarry. Parked at the foot of the trail were 2 very new and very clean cars both sporting COEXIST stickers and UWF stickers, one had a clean foil peace sign sticker on its rear windscreen. I walked up the path to the quarry, and then scrambled up the highest slag-pile I could find. Two young men were on the edge of the quarry firing into the side of another escarpment. The river had filled up the entire basin of the quarry. From where I stood I could see all the way to the far side of Escambia River, easily a mile away, all was pine and dark water. I had a chat with the guys at the quarry for a few minutes then drove on to check the other way-points on my list for the western side of the Escambia from Quintette to Flomaton.
This is not uncommon for us, actually we’re a little low on rain averages for the year and the Almanac is predicting a hot and dry summer.
I checked in at Mystic Springs to see the water levels. The campsites and boat ramp (30.85519,-87.311678 marked H on the map) are fairing way better than Cotton Lake. I’ve reserved our site and we’re ready for a night of BBQ on the grill and a nice campfire when we get there next weekend. We’re just a little ways out from the opening of the season and our inaugural 2015 May To the Bay event. I’ll be scheduling my next through paddle event for June (Sepulga to Conecuh) in the coming days. If you have a group looking for a summer adventure, or you’ve always wanted to try a more hardy trip than truck camping and smores give me a call at 251-236-5478 or email email@example.com. We can work out an adventure that suits your spirit!
I’m thankful everyday for the wonder before my eyes. See you on the Water!